January 15, 2012

Vermont: Small State, Big Beer

Posted by Kristin

If any of you have ever spent any amount of time around me or in my home, you pretty much know that my two favorite beverages are strong coffee and hoppy beer.  Of course everything in moderation is key, but as Benjamin Franklin said, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy". I agree.

Isn't it pretty?

(Insert sensible transition line here). Over the holidays Mike and I made a trip up to our old stomping grounds, Burlington, VT. Between seeing various sets of friends and sharing lots of good meals, we also got to sample quite a bunch of good beer and visit some great beer bars. First up was Farmhouse Tap and Grill.

The interesting story behind Farmhouse Tap and Grill is that it used to be a McDonalds. Yup, this moody, swanky beer bar used to be home to the golden arches but you'd never know. Aside from the same tile flooring that was there in the building's former life, its gone under quite a transformation and is now one of Burlington's primo beer spots.

Just think, this used to have Big Macs and french fries.

With 24 taps and a sweet little leather-bound beer book, you can settle in for a wide selection of hand crafted brews from across the nation and a fair bit of international options as well. If the taps available don't whet your appetite, you still have a bazillion bottles to choose from.They also have a great menu full of local and yup-you-guessed-it farm fresh food.One of my favorite touches is a chalkboard that says a big shout out to all the local farms they source their goods from.

They take their beer so seriously that you get a leather bound beer menu when you arrive.

While there, we sampled Hill Farmstead's Edward Pale Ale, which was surprisingly hoppy but well balanced, and the Unibroue's Emphemere Apple Ale, an interesting ale brewed with Granny Smith apples, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. If you can't tell from the wide smiles (me) or the heavy concentration on consumption (Mike), they were both very happy tasting in the mouth.

Just to clarify, I was holding my own beer and beer-sitting Mike's.

No smile-breaks here. Its all beer.

After Farmhouse Tap and Grill, we headed over to a friend's for dinner but stopped at Magic Hat along the way, conveniently located just down the road in South Burlington. Magic Hat is best known for their wacky beers and an even wackier aesthetic and the brewery is no disappointment. A nice bonus is that they have a sample bar set up with their goods on tap and each guest is welcomed to four free samples.  While waiting for our growler to be filled (basically a big, glass jug you can take the good stuff home in), we sampled some oldies but goodies and some new seasonal brews. After enjoying the fruity tastse of their famous #9 ale, a nice surprise was their seasonal ipa Encore. We don't usually go to Magic Hat for ipas but this one was surprisingly good and ended up in our growler (and our mouths, hello free samples!).

Enjoying an encore of Encore. Oh the puns, they kill me.

We also got to check out the merchandise while waiting and I saddled up to an old friend to say hello. Unfortunately our conversation was limited since I'm a fully functioning human and she was ...well...a dummy. Sad, but true.

She was feeling a bit shy that night, hence no smile.

Branching out beyond beer, one last place we stopped the following morning was The Skinny Pancake, located right near Lake Champlain in downtown Burlington. This place does crepes of all sorts: savory, sweet, big, small, all of them yummy. Definitely worth a visit when in town. And the icing on the cake, er syrup on the crepe, was getting to see some old friends and their new, one-month old baby. Of course I had to get some baby action while there and Mike even snagged a halfway decent shot of me holding the little guy. Mike liked it so much that he put it as the background on his phone but I promptly made him change it when I realized people would think it was our baby. Not a good thing.

So cute!!! But...not our baby, not our baby, not our baby!

So those are some places for good eats and drinks if you're ever in Burlington, a place that still has a piece of my heart and steals more of my money than I'd like to admit because the town makes too much darn good beer. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. You forgot that we went to sky burger and also got switchback, which was ah-maz-ing. I wish we could get it in Mass.